Continuing Hair Romance’s Salon Advice series to help you navigate the hair salon and love your hair.
So you’ve found a great salon, and you asked for the hairstyle you like but it didn’t quite turn out as you were expecting…
What do you do?
First of all, breathe – it’s only hair and it will grow back.
Next – don’t leave the salon without saying something.
I’ve been there. It’s like you’re in shock and you just nod, get out of the chair, pay and leave. It’s only once you’re outside your voice comes back and you wonder why you didn’t say “is it really supposed to look like that?”
If you take a moment to breathe, you can work out why you’re in shock.
Dianna Agron freaking out during her haircut, but she’s pretty happy with the result. In fact, she started a trend!
Problem 1: They did what you asked but you hate it
A dramatic change can take some adjustment time. A big colour change will also mean you need to tweak your makeup and wardrobe too. Make sure you tell your stylist you’re still not sure about the new style before you leave but give yourself a day or two to see how it feels on. Head to the beauty counter and ask to try makeup colours that suit your new hair. Play around with your wardrobe and try on different combinations.
If it still doesn’t feel right, call your salon and discuss what can be done to change it. They can also give you styling tips to help you work with your new hairstyle. As it’s a change of mind and not an error, they will probably charge you but if you explain they may give you a reduced price.
Problem 2: You had a consultation but they weren’t listening
You said one centimetre and they took four inches.
Maybe your hairdresser is too snip-happy or maybe you had a lot of split ends and were in denial about it. Ask your hairdresser for an explanation. If it was because your hair needed the chop they probably did you a favour. If they can’t measure, it may be time to find a new hairdresser. At least you have time to find a new salon while your hair grows back. Try some Twist & Pin hairstyles in the meantime.
You said no layers and now your hair is all feathery
Either your hairdresser is stuck in the 80s or you didn’t have a clear consultation. You’ll know to be really clear next time, but what to do with your feathery hair now? If you’re happy to lose some length, ask for the salon to cut your hair again into a blunter style.
You said blonde highlights and they gave you tiger stripes
This is a hard one. Look around the salon, are there a lot of awful hair colours and obvious highlights? You probably picked a bad salon and you have to ask yourself if you trust them to fix it. Tell your colourist you’re not happy with your hair and ask what can be done to correct it. Maybe finer highlights/lowlights can be done to disguise them, or a toner can help too. Ask for a more senior staff member to do it if you’re not comfortable with your original colourist.
Your colour looks way too strong
This may not be an error at all. Talk to your colourist, but as strong or dark colours fade very quickly, they often dye your hair a little darker than the colour you want when it’s first done. Your hairdresser wants your hair colour to last 6 weeks and still look good, so often it can be little strong in the beginning. Discuss it with your colourist and see how your hair looks after the first wash. If you still feel like the colour is too strong call your salon and ask for a colour correction appointment.
Bad haircuts happen, we’ve all been there and although it feels awful now, it will grow back. As a positive, you’ll learn some new styling skills trying to tame your mane into a style you like while your hair grows back. Hats can help you through lots of bad hair moments too.
A lot of bad haircuts can be avoided. It all comes down to expectations and communication. Make sure you have a proper consultation with your hairdresser and ask them questions. Be confident they can achieve the look you want, or agree on a compromise that is better suited to your hair type.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and tell your hairdresser if you’re not happy. You can just go elsewhere, but most hairdressers will want to help you and correct their hairstyle rather than lose you as a client.
If it’s really over, I’ll tell you how to break up with your hairdresser in the next part of the Salon Advice series.
Tell me about your worst hairstyle. How did you cope?Photograph by Camilla Akrans, collage by Hair Romance
Aaah 2020 …
I went to my new hairdresser. third time lucky I hoped…. but was nervous…
Two cuts in and its time for foils to lighten my hair.
So, in have never required toner after colouring in the past yet this hairdresser felt the need.
Then once home I really had a good look…
Not going back. I do have the horrid brassy tiger stripes. Three visits where I have left not feeling fab.
For once I cannot wait for my hair to grow it out. ???
I went in with virgin hair last week (medium-light brown natural color) for an ash/mushroom brown balayage. I scheduled for a balayage, talked several times to the stylist about it and had pictures of what I wanted. I left with a full head of bleach blonde yellow foiled highlights and no balayage. I told the stylist a couple days later and she had me come in today to “fix” it. She at first applied 2 different shades of toner one to my roots and one to the ends and when I said the roots were still too light (there shouldn’t have even been color up there had she done the balayage I requested) she applied an even darker toner to cover up the yellow blonde baby lights. She said to wash it a few times and let the toner fade a bit so I can see what it will look like. Will the toner actually fix the fact that she did bleached highlights or will the toner just fade out after a month and I will be left with yellow blonde highlights that I now have to awkwardly grow out? In order to fix the fact that I didn’t get a balayage at all and instead got a full head of foiled blonde highlights which was opposite of what I wanted shouldn’t she have applied actual color to fix the mess up?
I got a haircut a while back and I was getting rid of my undercut. The first haircut I got to get rid of it my undercut was too short to cut for the most comfortable length that was short so I got it cut still and it looked really cute. The problem came in when my undercut grew longer and I went to get it cut again and it wasn’t at the normal place I got my hair cut so I didn’t have the person who usaly cut my hair and knew my hair. So I asked for the length of the undercut and another inch off so it was a pretty short length, I’ve never had boy short hair in my life. The problem was she added way too much layers and didn’t cut my hair even at all and my side bang looked like a v. I wish I said somthing but I felt that would of been rude at that time but it was absolutely awful, my hair stuck up everywhere unless I straightened it or hair sprayed it down and used tons of hair products. There was nothing wrong with the length but all the choppy layers and bangs were not nesascary at all. My hair still looks bad and choppy from this day. Is there anyway I can fix it now that it’s grown out a little?
A while ago I went to get my hair dyed for the first time, and in the consultation I explained that I wanted a purple ombre. The stylist told me it would be £50. Came back the next day with my mums bank card (she lent it to me as I was going to pay her back) and left with a few purple streaks in my hair, and patches of bleached hair that hadnt been dyed over.In the end they charged me £85. I finally got the courage to call and complain and was told they would dye it again for free. Showed up to my appointment and was told that they would only cut my hair and I would have to pay for them to sort out my dye job. Not the best experience for my first time going to a salon alone lol.
Hair Romance says
oh that sounds awful! Sorry to hear this Ella. But I’ve been there too. The next time it happened I found it much easier to speak up and tell them I wasn’t happy during the appointment xx
Ahhhh the embarrassment we have to experience after a bad hair salon visit…
I too, like all of you, experienced hair nightmare yesterday, only to find out this morning it wasn’t a nightmare, but a reality… 🙂
A little backstory: I have been blonde for years. I used to have this beautiful long platinum blonde hair. But a couple of years ago I moved across country and was not able to visit my hairdresser anymore. So in the last 2 years I have been bouncing off from one hairdresser to another with no luck to get my hair to look like it’s supposed to. So I started toning the blonde down, and I actually ended up with 50 shades of blonde. Brassy on top, silver at the edges ):
Fast forward – Houston. I was long due for a haircut that I have been putting off for some time now. Someone recommended this AWESOME hairdresser here, that is really good but a bit pricey. So I got her number, googled the salon saw great reviews for it, and 90% of the reviews said how great she was. I was super happy and excited for this visit.
I walked in (so since a mutual friend recommended her) she was super friendly and started chatting. She said: Oh every time i see a person, i envision their perfect hair style. And when I do it, they look amazing. I am going to make your hair look beautiful, and I will make you look younger! (I am 30, and I am not trying to look younger just yet. but I didnt care about it, as I figured she is with women all day, and everyone is saying that they want to look younger, so that’s gotta be her selling point) She said: For you, I will do a LOB and BALAYAGE. Its gonna cost a bit more than highlights for the first visit but the maintenance of it is super easy.
I said: Perfect! That is actually what I want. I want a lob (which is what I got back in September, my hair was past my shoulders now) and I think the balayage would be amazing, I kinda like the dark root and blonde blending down.
So great. she started doing her thing cut some of the length, dyed my entire hair brown, then started working on the balayage, then when that was finally over, we headed for the final cut and touches. She started cutting the hair from the left, then the right, then the left again, then the right trying to even them out. Then she decided that was even enough and took the thinning scissors. OMG the thinning scissors. Started taking off hair, chopping and chopping and chopping it seemed like it was never ending, and she kept making comments on how much hair I have. I kept thinking to myself ahhh it’s going to be fine, she knows what she is doing, she has been doing this for 20 years!
When she was finally done with chopping my hair, i said, ummm the left side is longer a bit, so then she fixed it and moved onto styling: the curling iron. She then curled my hair (but not the beachy wavy kinda curls) and voila! my new hair was done!
I was shocked when I actually saw the end result. The length of my hair is below my ears with longer thin strands peeking down like tails making the length seem longer (bad thinning job) and the style of the cut does not have the lob shape due to the bad thinning job. The color is fine, better than what I walked in with, but definitely not balayage. The contrast between the top and the bottom of the hair is very low. The brown is not strong enough and it’s quite far down, and the blond is not blonde enough (due to the bad thinning job because she chopped off all of the blonde hair). SO 6 1/2 hours later all i wanted to do was get out of there and go home. You know, in the salon it’s always fine. But if you don’t love it: YOU SHOULD SAY THAT YOU DON’T LOVE IT! I paid $300 plus tip (with a $70 discount because we have a mutual friend) and I ran out the door. 15 mins later, I looked at myself in the mirror and the curls were already gone, and my hair was flat and greasy.
Today i couldn’t wait to wash my hair in hopes that the brown will start falling off a bit so my hair won’t seem so dark, and hopefully the blonde would get brighter. BUT nope… not a chance. I also realized the the left side of my hair is longer than the right, but not like it was done on purpose.
So now, I am contemplating to go back and tell her to even out my hair but I am too scared she will mess it up even more, and I will actually leave with a pixie cut.
I am so disappointed and heartbroken. I know it’s hair and it will grow back out, but I cannot even pick it up in a ponytail, nor wear a hat because it is already hot here! 🙁
Ironically, I will be going back home in 3 weeks to visit, and I cannot understand: Why didn’t I have more patience to go to see my hairdresser there in the first place? Ahhhh… the embarrassment of walking around with hair looking like someone dropped a bucket of water on top of me…
Should I just get over this visit and deal with it? Should I go back and tell her that she really messed up my hair?? Or should I just wait for 3 weeks and go see my hairdresser…?
Olivia O. says
A month and a half ago, I decided to go to the salon and get purple lowlights. I didn’t want anything huge, hence the lowlights. I wanted cute peek-a-boo purple. It turned out perfect! The purple was a very natural, soft color.
Today, I went back. I had a new stylists, since the one I had before had moved to Indy. Well, she decided to bleach the entire bottom half of my hair. I was not prepared for this. Then, she covered the entire bottom half of my hair with purple. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror when she was almost done after 2 hrs, and nearly threw up! It was like a gothic, deep deep deep purple with my light brown hair on top. I just smiled, thanked her, said “Oh, it’s purple!” paid, and left. Then went home and cried XD. And washed my hair in detergent 7 times in hopes of lightening the color. Well, now it’s more of a blue 🙁
Totally not like it was before. A real disappointment, since last time I loved it so much. Now I don’t even want to go out in public.
As a pseudo answer to your last question; you don’t want to hear the details of my worst salon experience (short story: hair fell out, had to cut it all off eventually). As for your tips, “say something” may be the best one, yet.
I recently went to get my hair colored and trimmed before the new school year and it was short of a disaster. I had asked for a purple ombré hair and i don’t know where the miscommunication was because I even had reference photos, he colored my hair but the color wasn’t right. He had told me that my hair was too dark for a vibrant color so I was going to get a very dark purple which was fine but I ended up with magenta highlights, 1 week before I was due to go back to my classes. If it had been ombré I would have been fine but it wasn’t and I felt bad about saying something to him because he is a close friend to my sister.
Hair Romance says
Ah that’s so frustrating, Rebecca. Even worse when it’s a friend as it’s difficult to confront them about it. Hope you can wash the colour out, or perhaps try a darker purple over the top? Good luck xx
I went to a hairdresser and told her to just trim the back and color it. She chopped of all of my hair now its really short and cannot style it at all. I have very thick straight hair. The stylist know this.
I am also worried because I don’t know if they can lighten it and I don’t have more than a week until the wedding (I’m a bridesmaid! AHHH) I don’t know what to do it is so bad! :'(
Hair Romance says
So sorry to hear about this Alaynia. Definitely call them up and see what they can do. With only a week you may not get the lighter result you want, but they should be able to do something. Good luck xx
I just went today and I asked for an inch off and to match my roots, (my natural hair is dark blonde and my dyed hair was light blonde). They proceeded to cut off four inches straight across and dyed it CHESTNUT BROWNISH RED!!!! Then cut my bangs into little sprigs! I was too upset to talk and I just paid and left. This was yesterday, should I ask for a refund….I am so sad.
Hi, I just went to get my dirty blonde hair highlighted. I asked for platinum highlight Bc I like the contrast between super blonde and my natural color ( it’s like getting free low lights). Same hairdresser I had last time and I had liked the color, but wanted more highlights this time to brighten up for spring. Brought in a pic that was platinum, asked for that. I got “yellow, brassy” highlights. Like many others, wanted to cry, he told me it looked perfect. I was super tired and it was getting darker, so I checked it at home. Still hated it. Went back next day and almost crying, asked why it didn’t work and brought a picture from my last hair cut/ highlights. All he kept telling me was that I have “fine, baby hair” and it would fall out if he made it lighter . Wtf?? It didn’t fall out the last time 🙁 and the difference in color between the new color and old color is noticeably different. I wish I bought two boxes and did it myself! Why couldn’t he get the color right? I asked it I had done anything wrong and he said “no”. Grrr, I had waited an extra couple months to grow out the roots so it could tolerate the platinum bleach. Any advice ? I waited 7 months, I don’t want to even wait 2-3 months more! 🙁
Hair Romance says
So sorry to hear, D. You could go for a consultation at another salon to get a second opinion. I’d also recommend a purple shampoo to tone down that yellow shade. Good luck x
I went in yesterday for balayage ombre with light ends and darker on top. Actually my natural hair color was the perfect shade. My stylist did a great job with the bleaching and toner of my hair. My hair went from a very dark brown almost black to the perfect shade of blonde. The problem I have is it’s too high up. It’s similar to the picture that I showed my stylist with the exception of the blonde beginning so high up. In the picture the ombre begins just below the ears, mine begins right above my temples. It looks like I haven’t died my hair in a long time. I love my blonde color and want to keep that I just want it to come down some. How do I explain this to my stylist? Can I do it tomorrow seeing is how it’s so soon?
Hair Romance says
Hi Alma, my original comment and your reply was lost in a site update. Just wanted to reply again to say you can get a root stretch colour to blend the balayage down your hair. Hope you’re still happy with your new colour xx
I got my hair coloured for the first time ever today. I wanted a very subtle ombré/balayage style-ish colour, as I have shoulder length hair. I was still in shock as I paid and left. By the time I got home I had decided I hated it – the colour went all the way up my head and left me feeling like I had left highlights to grow a root, and it is distinctly tiger stripey – not what I was going for at all. On top of that the colour the stylist left me with is a mottled blonde/brown rather than the complete blonde ends I was going for. I booked an appointment to have it redone, but she can only fit me in Wednesday. I have three major exams in the days before the hair appointment and I feel like I will be walking around with a bright red sign on my head. There is a very strict no hats policy which means I won’t be able to cover it up easily. Any tips?
Hair Romance says
Why not try braiding your hair? Check out my hair tutorials and that way your braids will be the focus instead of your hair colour x
Thank you for this post. I had an awful experience yesterday when I asked my stylist to tidy up the edges of my beard, and somehow this translated to her chopping off WELL over a YEARS worth of growth. I feel very upset, violated, even emasculated. I worked so hard to grow that facial hair and it was finally at a good-looking length, it just needed to be cleaned up a little to remain presentable. It happened so fast, I was certainly in shock as I paid and walked out. As much as you’re right that I need to breathe and say “It WILL grow back” it’s so upsetting to have lost over a YEARS worth of growth effort for no good reason. I believe once my beard gets long enough to trim again, I will find myself a barber who has an excellent beard himself. Then maybe someone will respect the effort I am putting in. Thank you for validating my feelings about this awful haircut!
Hair Romance says
thanks so much for commenting and glad you are ok. Hopefully your beard grows back quickly!
So glad I found this ! I always get my blonde highlights done in la and I love them – so being stuck in NYC and having awful roots I had to take my chance on a new person:( I found someone that a good review (only one review I could find ) so went for it. Brought pictures did everything on my end – but the hairdresser wasn’t very friendly first thing she says is she doesn’t like people so that’s why she has her own salon with just her- yes I guess I was desperate as I still sat in her chair and let her do my hair as soon as it was done it was too dark still – didn’t look blonde and my main note was please california bright blonde- she says after the $250 bill oh well next time- no not next time – $250 is a lot to hate the color I ask her to add more blonde she says come back tomorrow – I do she’s rushed (even though it’s just me) she add only a few blonde strands to the top of my hair (I got a full highlight) and says there better- I blow dry and still dark! I tell her sorry it’s still not like the picture then she proceeds to get so rude with me and says again oh well next time! $250 is a lot to spend on something you hate and since it’s only her salon there’s no one else to go to. I asked nicely is there anything else we can do and she just stared at me – so I left:( I called my credit card company to dispute the charge and they said of I wasn’t happy with the service they would do that- it may sound extreme but I feel so taken advantage of when you spend so much and all you get is oh well. Am I in the right to request refund?